The Ward, Williams and Percy families are a long line of very well-known, 19th century London engravers and painters who descend from James Ward, senior and his wife Rachel Goldsmith,the earliest ancestors for whom we know more than just a name and a date. Although neither James nor Rachel can be described as artists, the engravings and paintings of their descendants are much sought after in the art world, and command high prices at some of most prestigious auction houses of today. Family histories are given below, and there is another section that displays some of the Paintings of Williams Family, and discusses some of the artistic aspects of their careers. There is also a Wikipedia Article on the Williams Family of Painters.
James Ward, Senior (d. c.1796) was probably born sometime in the 1730s in the City of London, which refers to that part of the medieval city that was once enclosed by the now demolished London Wall. He gained employment as a young man with the 'Cider and Fruit Merchants', a firm located near Thames Street on the north bank of the Thames River. His son James remembered him as being good with his hands, and quite industrious in his early years, such that he rose to the position of a foreman with his company, and he might have been destined for greater things, had he not turned to drink. He was ultimately let go by the firm, and never regained meaningful employment. Indeed, had it not been for the successes and subsequent support of his children, he would lived out his remaining years in poverty. As it was, his son James remembered his father as sitting in his later years by the fireplace in a drunken stupor, smoking a long pipe with a jug a ale at his side, as shown here in a sketch by the younger James.
James Ward, Senior married a pious woman named Rachel (Rachael) Goldsmith (1737-1835) on Feb. 21, 1762 at the St. Leonard Shoreditch Church in the Hackney borough of London. Rachel, was the daughter of a tin and copper plate worker named John Goldsmith and his wife Ann. She was born on Aug. 21, 1737 in London, and baptized at the St. Giles Cripplegate Church the next day. An older sister named Ann, who was baptized Aug. 29, 1729 at the St. Botolph without Aldersgate Church, later married James Ward's older brother Thomas. Another sister named Mary Goldsmith, who was baptized Jan. 30, 1731 at St. Botolphs, married a copper-plate printer named Daniel Gent (c.1732-1782) on July 25, 1755 at St. Giles, Camberwell Church in the Southwark borough of London. This Daniel Gent, who is referred to by James Junior as 'Uncle Gent', had a shop on George Street in central London and is said to have invented a color printing process. However, of more importance, he probably had connections in the engraving business that helped his nephews gain apprenticeships in that trade.
Although nothing is known of the parents of James Ward Senior, he appears to have had at least one older brother, and there is some evidence of perhaps two older brothers. 'Uncle Thomas', of whom we have already mentioned, lived near James' household and is said to have been a pious member of a local church. Thomas married twice, first to a woman of whom we know nothing, then after her death he married his sister-in-law Ann Goldsmith on June 23, 1771 at same church where James and Rachel Ward wed. In fact, Rachel was a witness at her sister's wedding. Uncle Thomas died in the late 1770s, perhaps very early 1780s, leaving behind a young son from his second marriage. Another brother named William apparently was religious also, and he may have had a daughter named Mary Ann, nicknamed Emma, who became the first wife of James Ward, Junior. However, others dispute that Uncle William was Emma's father. It should be noted that many of the stories that Frankau (1904) attributes to Uncle Willliam, Grundy (1909) attributes instead to Uncle Thomas, which leaves one wondering if there were indeed two uncles, or only one.
The elder James Ward died sometime after the 1795 marriage of his son James to his first wife Mary Ann (Emma) Ward. Rachel Ward survived her husband by many, many years. Her great-great grandson Leslie Ward (1915) writes in his autobiography that she died one month shy of her 100th birthday, which would make July of 1837 the date of her death. However, she almost certainly is the Rachel Ward who was buried on Oct. 30, 1835 at the age of 98 years in Cheshunt, Hertfordfordshire, which is the village where her son James had retired. If so, she was probably buried in the graveyard of the Cheshunt parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. The younger James in 1827, the same year that he married his second wife Charlotte Fritch, executed a painting of Rachel titled 'The Family Compact' that shows Rachel sitting with her new daughter-in-law. There is also a portrait of Rachel (shown here) by James that in 1830 was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art.
James and Rachel Ward appear to have had at least the six children listed below. Biographer Julia Frankau (1904), whose work Grundy (1909) implies is filled with errors, says there were eight children, but she identifies only five by name. Grundy says there were only five children total, but he makes no mention of Sarah Ward for whom both a baptism and marriage record exist, yet he does mention Charlotte Ward, for whom we have found neither record. Assuming that Grundy's Charlotte Ward did exist, that leaves us with six children.
children - WARD
William Ward (c.1762-1826) was christened on Feb. 21, 1762 at St. John Zachary Church in London, seven months after the marriage of his parents. He was apprenticed around 1775 to the celebrated engraver John Raphael Smith, probably through business connections of William's Uncle Gent. He became one of the premier mezzotint engravers of London, and through his business became friendly with George Morland the painter, and with Morland's sister Maria. William ultimately married Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 in a dual wedding where his sister Ann also married Maria's brother George. Also, William engraved some 69 of George Morland's paintings, as well as numerous portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and a few historical pictures. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1795 and was later appointed mezzotint engraver to the Prince Regent, and the Duke of York. In 1814 he was elected an associate in the Royal Academy of Art. He died suddenly in London on December 21, 1826. Of his marriage with Maria Morland were born two sons, William James Ward (c.1800-1840) and Martin Theodore Ward (1799-1874), both of whom became artists, and died in unfortunate circumstances. A portrait of William Ward by his brother-in-law George Morland is shown here. There is a Wikipedia Article on William Ward.
Anne Ward (1767-1804) was born March 24, 1767 and christened on April 12th of the same year at St. James Garlickhithe Church in London. She married the celebrated painter George Morland, a friend and business acquantaince of her brother William, in a dual ceremony with William and his bride Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 at St. Pauls Church in Hammersmith, London. Her husband was also a close friend of her brother-in-law Edward Williams, and the two would enjoy evenings together visiting various pubs about town and drinking the nights away. In fact, her husband was given to legendary excess, and James Ward reports that Morland's drinking ultimately cost him his health. Ward also reports that he and Morland became estranged, and that when he encountered Morland several years later he was shocked to she how much Morland had aged in just a short amount of time. Not long after this encounter, Morland died of 'brain fever' on Oct. 29, 1804 in London. Ann, who loved him dearly despite his vices, died in a convulsive fit of grief three days later, and she and her husband were buried together in the burial ground on Hampstead Road in Westminster (central London) that today is known as St. James Gardens, but was originally attached to St. James Church (Piccadilly). Ann and George had no children. There is a Wikipedia Article on George Morland.
James Ward (1769-1859) was born Oct. 23, 1769 on Thames Street in the City of London, and christened Nov. 12 of the same year at All Hallows the Great Church in the City of London. He spent his childhood in poverty working in the Thames Street cider cellars, and as a dish washer at Three Cranes Wharf, but his fortunes changed when he was apprenticed at about the age of 15 to the mezzotint engraver John Raphael Smith. Then he was apprenticed to his brother William Ward, who had been Smith's former apprentice. Rapidly gaining a reputation as one of London's finest engravers, Ward was appointed engraver to the Prince of Wales on Jan. 1, 1794. He married Mary Ann Ward, who was also known as Emma within her family, on Dec. 4, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London. Although Frankau (1904, p. 25) says that Emma was the daughter of his Uncle William, Grundy (1909, p. xxii) says that she was unrelated. His sister Sarah and her husband Henry Chalon were witnesses at the wedding.
Despite his enviable reputation as an engraver, Ward aspired to be a painter, so he asked his artist brother-in-law George Morland for instruction. Although Morland formally refused Ward's request to become his mentor, Morland nonetheless probaby served as Ward's main, if unwilling, inspiration, and Ward was able to successfully reinvent himself in the new medium. Although equally adept at portraits and landscapes, he made his mark primarily as an animal painter, ultimately being elected in 1811 as a member to the prestigious Royal Academy of Art, four years after the Academy had granted him associate status.
Ward's wife died in 1819, and she is probably to be identified with a Mary Ann Ward, who was buried at the age of 50 on Sept. 3, 1819 at the same St. Marylebone Church where she and Ward had been wed, and most of their children baptized. He later married his second wife Charlotte Fritch, who may have been his cousin, or possibly the counsin of his first wife, on Oct. 27, 1827 in Derbyshire. Their marriage record in the parish church gives his profession as 'Royal Academian'. His career declined in his later years, yet the Royal Academy saw fit to grant him an annual pension of £100, which saw him through until his death on Nov. 16, 1859, after having just reached his 90th birthday. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. His second wife Charlotte died on July 3, 1868 and is buried with him in the same cemetery. Ward's great grandson, the caricaturist Lelie Ward (1851-1922), is also buried in Kensal Green.
James and Mary Ann (Emma) Ward had several children, but only four of them survived to adulthood - Henry James (1796-1872), who was weak-minded and generally lived with his parents; Matilda Louisa (1797-1873), who married the portrait painter John Jackson, RA (1778-1831); George Raphael Ward (1797-1852), who followed his father as an engraver and painter; and James Claude (1804-1841), of whom little is known. Another two - Emma Caroline (1802-1817) and Somerville Man (1809-1821) died young, and both of whom are mentioned in Grundy (1909); and then there were at least two - Emma Sarah (1801-1802) and Somerville (1807-1808), who died as infants. There is a Wikipedia Article on James Ward.
Sarah Ward (c.1773-1860) was christened on Nov. 7, 1773 at the St. Martin-Vintry Church in the City of London. She married the painter Henry Barnard (Bernard) Chalon (1770-1849) on Aug. 1, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London. Although her brother James was probably the one who originally introduced Sarah to Chalon, James and her husband utlimately grew to dislike each other intensely. Their dispute began when Chalon criticised Ward's ability to paint horse portraits, and the contempt between the two no doubt deepened when Chalon left Sarah Ward for a younger woman named Sarah Wilson, with whom he had an illegitimate son - Henry Barnard Chalon, Jr. (b. c.1829). Ward retaliated by using his influence with the Royal Academy to argue against Chalon being admitted as an associate member. Then when Chalon died a few years later, James attempted to influence the writer of Chalon's obituary to portray his subject in an unflattering manner. Baptism records show that Sarah Ward and Henry Chalon had at least three children (some genealogies claim there were several) - two sons William (b. c.1796) and Thomas (b. c.1800), and a daughter, Maria Ann Chalon (1797-1877), who became a miniature painter. Maria married the painter Henry Moseley (1798-1866). There is a Wikipedia Article on Henry Chalon. Sarah died on Feb. 7, 1860 in Pancras, London, and she is buried in the Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery.
Ward's opinion of Henry Chalon is revealed in a letter that he wrote to Lord Chesterfield, when the latter solicited Ward's advice regarding Chalon. This letter reads, "He, Chalon, got acquainted with an artful woman, who kept a school. At length a child appeared, then she left the school, and, it is said, broke her father and mother's hearts. Since that period he has passed the woman off as Mrs. Chalon." (Frankau, 1904, p. 42)
Charlotte Ward is said by biographer Cecil Grundy (1909, p. xxi-xxii) to have been James Ward's youngest sister, yet we have found no baptism record for her, which seems odd given the religious nature of her mother. Grundy writes further that Charlotte worked for a brief time in 1794 as her brother's housekeeper when he was living in a house at Paddington district of Westminster. Although we know nothing more about Charlotte that is certain beyond Grundy's writings, one wonders if she might be the same Charlotte Ward who married a certain Charles Leslie on Sept. 18, 1805 at St. George the Martyr Church in Southwark, London (Surrey) This Charles Leslie was the second Baronet Pepys (1774-1833) of Juniper Hill, and a grandson of the Earl of Rothes. But again, this tie is speculation based on circumstantial evidence with no documentation. Interestingly, another Charles Leslie, who also appears to have had ties to the Rothes Family, married Charlotte's great niece Emily Williams (1816-1857) many years later.
There are on Ancestry.com a number of family trees that erroneously show Charlotte Ward, the daughter of James and Rachel Ward, married to Edward Williams on Feb. 7, 1788 at the St. Pancras Old Church. However, we know for certain from church records that it was actually Charlotte's older sister Mary who married Edward Williams on that date at St. Pancras. These trees go on to give birth and death dates for Charlotte, but given that these require her name at death to have been Charlotte Williams, there is in fact no evidence for such assumptions, as Charlotte never married Williams in the first place. This shows the importance of backing up family histories with reliable references rather than relying on undocumented family trees that proliferate on the internet.
Mary Ward (1764-1832), the daughter of James Ward and Rachel Goldsmith, was born on Feb. 1, 1764 in London, and christened Feb. 17 at the St. Michael Paternoster Church. Her younger brother James writes that was very beautiful, but with a sharp tongue, and given to wild ways. He goes on to write that he did not like her. She ran away with an engraver named Edward Williams, who was a drinking companion of her brother-in-law George Morland, and she had at least two children with Edward out of wedlock before she married him on Feb. 7, 1788 at the St. Pancras Old Church in the Camden borough of London, with her father as a witness to the wedding. Sometime afterward, she left Williams for another man, probably William Sandbach (c.1778-1830), whom she subsequently married on Nov. 11, 1802 at St. Mary's Church in the Islington borough of London. There is an engraving of her by her brother William Ward titled the 'The Musing Charmer' (shown at right). Another engraving by Mary's husband Edward Williams titled 'The Lovely Brunette' (lower left), which is after a drawing by William Ward, is probably of the same woman.
Mary died at the age of 68 in London, and was buried on Sept. 14, 1832 under the name of Mary Sandbach with her second husband at the burial ground on Hampstead Street for Saint James Piccadilly in central London (Westminster). This burial ground today is known as St. James Gardens, and it is the same cemetery where George Morland and his wife Ann, Mary's younger sister, are also buried. When Cardington Street was built in 1887 beside the Euston train station, this cemetery was converted to a garden park, with the graves being levelled and the tombstones moved to the boundaries of the gardens. .
Edward Williams (c.1755-?) the engraver is said to have known William Hogarth (1697-1764), which indicates that Williams was probably several years older than his wife Mary, who would have been born the same year Hogarth died. Although we do not know the evidence, circa 1755 is given for his birthdate in some sources. This would make him about 9 years old when Hogarth died, and 9 being the age when many English apprenticeships began, this opens the possibility that Williams briefly studied under Hogarth. Given that Edward Williams was close friends in his adult life with Thomas Rowlandson, who was born in in 1756, and Williams' brother-in-law George Morland, who was mborn in 1763, the approximate 1755 birth year for Williams seems reasonable.
Edward Williams is generally descibed as a "fair engraver", and he is remembered for several prints after Rowlandson, most notably 'A College Scene', and another titled 'Polygamy', which is in the Royal Collection of the Queen of England. There is also an engraving by Williams of a drawing by Rowlandson's friend Henry Wigstead titled the 'The Country Vicar's Fireside', and another after John Hamilton Mortimer titled 'The Coke and Perkin' in a set of prints of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is in the collection of the British Museum. These engravings were all published from 1785 to 1787 by either John Raphael Smith or Thomas Prattent - Smith being the engraver who had apprenticed Edward William's brothers-in-law, James and William Ward.
Given the reputations of Edward Williams' friends - Rowlandson and Morland - we can surmise that Williams was a bit of a carouser. There is in fact a story that John Hassell tells in his 1806 biography on George Morland about a drinking adventure that Williams shared one night with Morland. Beyond that little else is known about Edward Williams.
The British Museum website gives 1820 as the date of Edward Williams' death, but the evidence for this is not known. Apparently James Ward in 1847 wrote, "I never knew what became of him [Edward Williams] or where he died, but some years back Henry Morland called upon me to know if I could tell that particular - as Mrs. Williams [James' sister] was alive and married to another man - and there was some property she could get if she could tell the particulars of his death - which it appears she knew as little of as I know myself." (Fussell, 1974, p. 42). Unfortunately, we do not know if the enquiry in this account was made by George Morland's father Henry Morland, who died in 1797, or by George Morland's brother the picture dealer Henry Augustus Morland, who was still alive during the 1841 UK census. Most likely it was the younger Morland. Although the date of Edward William's death remains a mystery, it seems likely that he was no longer alive in 1802 when his wife remarried. There is a Wikipedia Article on Edward Williams.
Sophia Williams (c.1786-1854) was born about 1786 in London, according to the 1841 U.K. Census, and by back-calculating from her age of death at the time she buried. She married a carver named Charles Hildebrant (c.1785-1856) on May 23, 1803 at the Saint Pancras Old Church in Camden, London, with her brother Edward was a witness. Edward later married Charles' sister Ann in the same church. Sophia and Charles had at least five children, of whom William Charles Hildebrant was baptized on the same day and in the same church as Sophia's nephew George Augustus Williams. Sophia died in 1854 in Southwark, Surrey (south London), and she was buried on Feb. 26, 1854 in Nunhead Cemetery is Southwark, which is where her husband is also buried. .
It is possible that Sophia is the same Sophia Williams who was born March 16, 1784 to parents Edward and Mary Williams, and baptized at Saint Anne Soho in Westminster on April 11. If so, then there is a third child named John, who was born to parents Edward and Mary Williams on March 13, 1781, and baptized at the same church on April 6. However, this is speculation, and the similar names are probably just a coincidence, as Sophia's brother Edward Williams was born the same year, and he was not baptized at St. Anne Soho, but at St. Mary Lambeth.
Edward Williams (1781-1855), the son of Edward Williams the engraver and Mary Ward, was born in London, and baptized Oct. 13, 1781 at the St. Mary Church in the Lambeth parish. Sometime around 1792 or 1793, probably about the time his mother left his father for another man, the younger Edward was sent to live with his maternal uncle, James Ward the painter. The fact that Ward scarcely mentions Edward in his writings, suggests that little if any art instruction was given, yet Edward must have certainly been influenced by his brief association with Ward. Another famous uncle, who likewise gave no instruction, was the notorious painter George Morland, a child prodigy whose excesses were as legendary as his skill with the brush. After a short residence with Ward, Edward was apprenticed to a carver and gilder named Hillier, who was not in any of the trade guilds but nontheless had a shop on Silver Street, Golden Square, London. Thus Edward probably began his career carving and gilding picture frames, but he is said to have also painted miniatures to supplement his income.
Edward married Ann Hildebrant, the daughter of Frederick and Sarah Hildebrant, on Feb. 12, 1806 at St. Pancras Church in London. Ann had been baptized July 14, 1780 at St. Mary Church in the Whitechapel Parish of the Stepney Borough of London, and she had at least two siblings - David (b. c.1779) and Charles Hildebrandt (b. c.1785), both of whom were christened at the same church as Ann. Her brother Charles Hildebrandt in 1803 married Sophia Williams, the sister of Edward Williams, and then, as already mentioned, Edward Williams three years later married Charles' sister Ann. Interestingly, Charles Hildebrandt in the 1841 U.K. Census listed his occupation as a carver, the same occupation that Edward Williams originally apprenticed in, and worked at before he became a painter. Possibly Charles and Edward worked together at one time or another, but this is only a possibility, and all we know for sure is that they were brothers-in-law. It does seem reasonable though that they devoted at least some of their time, if not most of it, to carving picture frames, which would have put them in contact with painters.
Although trained as a carver and gilder, Edward Williams was surrounded by relatives who were well-known painters and engravers, and as the years went by he reinvented himself as a painter. He started by copying Dutch Baroque landscapes from the 1600s, in the style Ruisdael and Hobbema, then moved on to comtemporary landscapes that, not surprizingly, hint of his uncle George Morland. Ultimately, he became known for moonlight scenes, and, as he got older, for river scenes along the Thames. However, he is best known for being the father of six sons, all of whom became artists. As their fame grew, and with it their pocket books, the family moved in 1846 from Cromer Street, London to a more substantial house at 32 Castelnau Villas in Barnes, Surrey. This house, which still exists today with a new number of 92 Castelnau, had a large coach house on the south side that became the family art studio. The many landscapes coming out of this studio, similar in style and themes, gave rise to the attribution of the 'Williams School of Painters', or simply the 'Barnes School'.
Edward Williams became known in later years as "Old Williams", to distinguish him from his son Edward Charles Williams, who had also become a noted painter. Old Williams spent his final years with Ann at the Castelnau Villas in Barnes. Ann died on Sept. 15, 1851, presumably there in Barnes, although we do not know this sure, and she was buried on Sept. 24, 1851 in the cemetery of the old Barnes Parish Church. Old Williams is said to have never overcome the grief from her passing, and died just four years after Ann at the age of 74 on June 24, 1855 at his Castelnau Villa home. He is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, where he shares a tombstone with Ann, their daughter Emily Leslie, and their son George Augustus Williams. A tombstone shaped as a cross stands next to theirs and marks the grave of their son Henry Boddington. Although cemetery where these two stones still stand has been turned into a nature sanctuary, and left in neglect to become overgrown with vines and bushes, the inscriptions on these stones in 2022 could still be read (SEE the Williams Family burial plot). There is a Wikipedia Article on Edward Williams. SEE ALSO: Residences of Edward Williams.
children - WILLIAMS
Edward Charles Williams (1807-1881) was born in London on July 10, 1807, and baptized Sept. 13, 1807 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster. His father taught him to paint, which is evident from the similarity of their works, both father and son painting woodland scenes reminiscent of early Dutch landscape artists. Edward Charles lived in and around London most of his life, and many of his paintings feature the surrounding countrysides of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex. As neither father nor son consistently signed their works, it can be very difficult to ascertain which one painted a given canvas.
Edward married his first wife Mary Ann Challenger (c.1807-1857), the daughter of Isaac Challenger, on Dec. 11, 1839 at the St. Marylebone Church in Westminster with both his parents as witnesses. Mary Ann died on March 7, 1857 in Hammersmith, London, and as her name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of March 13, 1857, she is almost certainly buried there with other members of the family in the Old Barnes Cemetery. Edward's only child Alice Fanny Williams was born the following year to Sarah Susannah Horley (1838-1933), who was thirty years younger than Edward, and who had been the nurse to Edward's invalid wife. Jan Reynolds also informs us that Sarah was a pawn-brokers daughter, her father being William Horley (1812-1875). Several years later, after apparently living together for some time, Edward wed Sarah on Oct. 3, 1868 at the St. Pancras Old Church in Camden, London. Edward was 60 at the time and Sarah was 30 years old. Edward Charles Williams saw his fortunes decline in his later years and he is said to have died "in respectable poverty" on July 25, 1881 in Shepherds Bush, London. He is buried in the Old Hammersmith (Margravine) Cemetery, only a couple of miles from the home that he died at. Sarah, who had been born Feb. 26, 1838 in the Finsbury district of London, outlived him my more that fifty years, and died on Feb. 10, 1933 in Hammersmith. She is also buried at the Margravine Cemetery, in the same plot as her husband and their daughter. There is a Wikipedia Article on Edward Charles Williams. SEE ALSO: Residences of Edward Charles Williams.
Alice Fanny Williams (1858-1938) was born on March 24, 1858 in Hammersmith, London (Kensington registration district), and baptized there on June 4, 1858 in the Hammersmith parish church. Census returns show that she lived with her mother in Hammersmith after her father died, and as far as we know she never married. She died on Nov. 10, 1938 in the Kensington registration district, probably in the Hammersmith parish (information from David Smith), but Shepard's Bush is also a possibility. She is buried in the Old Hammersmith (Margravine) Cemetery with her parents. .
Henry John Boddington (born Williams) (1811-1865) was born in London on Oct. 14, 1811 and baptized Aug. 17, 1814 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster, at the same time as his brother George, and his cousin William Charles Hildebrant. Although his father and older brother trained him as an artist, he soon developed his own style, characterized by country scenes with sunlight filtering through trees onto animals or people in a warm glade, or shadowed country lane. He married Clarissa "Clara" Eliza Boddington (1813-1905), the daughter of William and Elizabeth Boddington, on Nov. 28, 1833 in the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London, and adopted her maiden name to distinguish his art from that of his family. Clarissa, who went by the name of Clara, was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Boddington (c.1786-1872), and she was born on Feb. 14, 1813 (according to David Smith family papers) in the Holborn Borough of London. Nothing is known of Clara's father, but her mother is found during the 1861 and 1871 U.K. Census living in Clara's household.
Boddington became very popular as an artist and was invited in 1842, at the age of only 31 years, to join the prestigious Society of British Artists, which twenty years later became the Royal Society of British Artists. His only son Edwin Henry Boddington was born on October 14, 1836 when Henry and Clara were living in the Islington District of London. Later, they lived at Gray's Inn Road (1839-1846), Fulham (1846-1849), and Hammersmith (1849-1854), before moving to an expensive house on Lonsdale Road, Barnes, where Henry lived out his remaining years. A progressive ailment, probably a brain tumor, robbed him of his sight and abilities in the final two years of his life, and he died at the age of 54 on April 11, 1865 in Barnes. He is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, next to his father's grave, under his given name of Williams. Clara adopted his name after his death, and became Clarissa Eliza Boddington-Williams. She died at the age of 92 of complications from a fall on March 21, 1905 at Upper Holloway in London, some forty years after the passing of her husband. There is a Wikipedia Article on Henry John Boddington. SEE ALSO: Residences of Henry John Boddington.
Edwin Henry Boddington (b. 1836), the only child of Henry and Clara Boddington, was born on Oct. 14, 1836 in Islington, London under the family name of Williams, and baptized on June 28, 1837 at St. Mary Church in Lambeth, London. He later went by the surname of Boddington, and it has been suggested by some art historians that his primary motivation in doing so was to capitalize on his father's fame as a painter, but to be fair we do not know the real reason. Edwin married Helena Frances Smith (1832-1915) on Jan. 29, 1856 at the parish church of St. Peter Pimlico in London (Middlesex County). They settled initially in the Barnes, Surrey area, lived for awhile at Newend House in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and subsequently moved to Peckham, Surrey.
Edwin was not a good husband. He filed for bankruptcy at least twice, first on April 29, 1863 in Guilford, Surrey, and again on July 12, 1869 in the City of London, serving time in debtors prison the second time. His name also appears on an 1871 register of prisoners in Wandsworth Prison, Surrey. Then Helena states in a divorce petition (document #4159) that she and Edwin separated in December 1870, when he moved in with a woman named Ann Ford in Margate, Kent, living with her for a few months, before moving in about January 1873 with another woman named Mary Ann Foley (b. 1830) at Herne Bay, Kent. Helena subsequently on Dec. 29, 1875 made her petition to the court, citing abuse, desertion and adultry as grounds for divorce. Her petition was accepted, and the court on Feb. 24, 1876 ordered Edwin to pay alimony of £52/year. Helena never remarried, and died on March 10, 1915 at the Lewisham High Street Workhouse in London, where she had been a resident for about a year and a half.
Edwin from about 1869 on largely quit exhibiting his paintings, and there is little further mention of him in art journals. He does appear in the 1881 UK census, living in Bushey, Hertfordshire as a landscape painter, and married to Mary Foley, with his 11-year old son Harry living with them. Also, Mary's 12-year old niece Emily Martha Tully (b. 1868) appears in the same household. There is no subsequent mention of the couple, unless Edwin is the Edwin H. Williams who appears in the 1891 census as a music professor of organ and piano in Barnes, Surrey with wife Mary Anne, and again with Mary as Henry B, Williams, music professor in the 1901 census in Wood Green, London.
Jan Reynolds (1972), who must have read the will of Edwin's mother Clarissa Boddington-Williams, writes that Edwin in 1905 inherited over £1000 from her. Consequently several online auction houses place his death later that same year in London. However, Edwin is not mentioned in the probate summary for his mother's estate, which shows that an initial estate valued at £1287 was revised to £1587 and resworn to the benefit of a Scottish-born boot maker named James Mair (1851-1926), who resided in Little Stanton, London. Possibly Edwin was deceased when the award was made, but he also may have simply failed to report to the court to claim it. Truthfully the details of Edwin's death are unknown.
Edwin's sons Percy and Harry, and his daughter Ada, all emigrated to Australia; and it has been suggested that Edwin eventually joined them in Australia, and died there. In fact, William Fraser, who maintains an online genealogy of the family that is listed in the references below, is married to one of the Australian descendants of Edwin's son Percy. However, no Australian arrival or burial records for Edwin have been found, which makes it seem less likely that he died in Australia. There is a Wikipedia Article on Edwin Boddington.
Evangeline Constance Boddington (1862-1884) was born on March 15, 1862 in Merrow, Surrey (Guildford registration district) and baptized on May 29, 1862 at St. John Church in Merrow, Surrey. She married Frederick Colman Thompson (c.1858-1931) on Dec. 9, 1882 in Barnes Surrey. She died a little more than a year later at the age of 21 in Barnes Surrey, and was buried on Feb. 2, 1884 in the Barnes St. Mary parish. .
Ada Clarissa Boddington (1863-1944?) was born June 21, 1863 Barnes, Surrey (Guildford registration district) and baptized on August 29, 1863 at St. Marys Church in Barnes, Surrey. She is found living with her mother and brother Percy in Camberwell, London in the 1881 UK census, and in 1885 she married a man named Arthur Mylius (b. c.1862) in Camberwell, London. The 1901 census then shows Ada and Arthur living in St. Hilda Lewisham with three children - Ida Gladys Mylius (b. 1886), Vivian Cecil Mylius (1889-1973) and Isabel Mylius (b. c.1897). We do not know what became of Arthur, but the two oldest children married in 1908 and 1910 in England, afterwhich Ada emigrated to Australia with the youngest child Isabel, arriving on March 18, 1911 aboard the H.M.S. Suevic in the port city of Albany in Western Australia. Isabel then disappears from mention, and Ada is probably the Mrs. Ada Clare Mylius who died on July 9, 1944 in South Australia. .
Isabel Blanche Williams (1865-1927) was born on Feb. 17, 1865 in Silsoe, Bedfordshire (Ampthill registration district), and she is shown living with her grandmother, sometimes as Isabel Williams and sometimes as Isabel Boddington, in the 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 census returns. She married William Alfred Griffiths (b. c.1865) in the 4th quarter of 1901 in Islington, and died on March 9, 1927 in the borough of Barnet, London. So far as we know, she had no children. .
Percy Montague Reginald Boddington Williams (1866-1948) was born on April 23, 1866 in Silsoe, Bedfordshire (Ampthill registration district). He sailed from Liverpool as a crew member of the "West Riding" and arrived in 1887 at Port Adelaide, South Australia, subsequently settling at Broken Hill in New South Wales, where in 1890 he married Mary Jane Winifred Daly (1876-1937) and had at least three children - Ada C. Boddington (1891-1891), Helena Eva Boddington-Williams (1892-1967) and Percy John Edward Boddington (1903-1983), from whom there are descendants living today in Australia. Mary Jane died in 1937 and is buried in Cheltenham Cemetery in South Australia. Percy lived another ten years and died on Dec. 14, 1948 at Port Adelaide, and is buried with his wife at Cheltenham Cemetery. .
Herbert Edwin Boddington Williams (1867-1868) was born in 1867 in the Camberwell, London registration district and baptized on Dec. 20, 1867 in Peckham, Surrey in the St Mary Magdalene Church. He died a few months later in 1869 in the Camberwell registration district. .
Henry "Harry" Frederick Boddington Williams (1870-1940) was born November 10, 1870 in Surrey, probably in the Peckham parish, and baptized on Jan. 15, 1871 in Peckham, Surrey in the St Mary Magdalene Church. He joined his brother in 1890 at Port Adelaide, Australia, where in 1903 he married Isabella Jane Brock (1872-1945) at the residence of her father Alfred Brock in Parkside, South Australia. They had one daughter Maud Isabella Boddington (b. 1906) who in 1937 is listed in the electoral rolls for Marong Bendigo in Victoria, Australia under her maiden name in her parents house. Her father Henry died at the age of 69 in 1940 in Hampton, Victoria, and Isabella died five years later in Windsor, Victoria. We do not know for sure what became of Maud, but there is an online genealogy maintained by a descendant of her brother's family that shows she married a man named Jack Arid, and died in Victoria, Australia. .
George Augustus Williams (1814-1901) was born May 4, 1814 in London, and baptized Aug. 17, 1814 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster in central London, together with his cousin William Charles Hildebrant and his older brother Henry John Williams. He inherited his artistic talent, as did his brothers, from his father. However, his work is distinct from that of the other members of his family, being characterized by moonlight and twilight winter scenes of villages and stables, often with horses and a light dusting of snow. His paintings were mainly exhibited at the Suffolk Street Gallery, but he also exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1841 onwards, and at the British Institution and elsewhere.
George married his first wife Caroline Smith (bapt. Dec. 23, 1814 - St. Andrew Holborn), the daughter of Abraham and Charlotte Smith, on Feb. 19, 1834 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London in a double wedding, in which Caroline's sister Charlotte Matilda Smith (1810-1889) also married Edward Joseph Brett (1815-1879). The last official mention we have of Caroline is from the 1841 U.K. Census, which shows her and George living with their family on London Street in St. Mary Islington in the central part of London, next door to George's brother Edward Charles Williams. George also shows London Street as his address in 1842 and 1843 art exhibition catalogs, but he appears to have moved around 1844 to Liverpool Street in the Bishopsgate District of London. Presumably Caroline was still with him at the time.
We assume that Caroline was still with George in 1846 when he gives his address as his father's house at No. 32 Castelnau Villas in Barnes, which in those days was a rural area near the Thames River on the outskirts of London. This house still exists today (2018), but it has been renumbered to No. 92 Castelanu. George continued to give No. 32 Castelnau as his address in various documents until 1855, which is the year his father died. George then at some point moved to another house at No. 4 Castelnau Cottages, which is only 1400 feet to the south of the first house. We know for sure that he was in the new house by the time the U.K. Census for 1861 was taken. The No. 4 Castelnau house still exists also (2018), but it likewise has been renumbered to No. 177 Castelanu. We know nothing for sure about Caroline's status or whereabouts during these years at the Castelnau houses, and she was definitely out George's life by 1854 when he appears with a new wife and a new child. It is possible that Caroline left George, but Jan Reynolds (1975) always believed that Caroline had died.
George's fifth child Albert Williams was born on August 26, 1854. George and his second wife Jane Newman (c.1828-1855) are shown on birth and baptism records as Albert's parents. Presumably, George's first wife Caroline died, and he married his second wife Jane sometime prior to the child's birth. Although Jane is listed on various documents as George's wife, we have yet to find an official record of marriage. Tragically, Jane died of tuberculosis just a few months later on Feb. 3, 1855 at the Castelnau Villas. She was buried at the age of 27 on Feb. 10, 1855 in the Barnes parish, which indicates that she almost certainly is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery.
George is listed in the 1861 U.K. census as a widow, sharing a household with his daughter Caroline. George and Caroline were then joined in 1877 or earlier by George's grandaughter Maud Marion Williams, who stayed with them for the rest of their lives. George died on May 26, 1901 at his home at 177 Castelnau Villas, having lived in the same neighborhood for more than fifty years. He is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery in the grave of his father, and near his brother Henry John Boddington. He is believed to have had three sons and a daughter with his first wife Caroline, and a fourth son with his second wife Jane.
Family tradition identifies the photograph shown above and right as a brother of Sidney Richard Percy. Comparison to other family photographs of the Williams brothers, together with the process of elimination and circumstantial evidence makes it possible that this photograph might be of George Augustus Williams. However, this is a guess, and we know of no photograph that positively identifies him. There is a Wikipedia Article on George Augustus Williams. SEE ALSO: Residences of George Augustus Williams.
George Walter Williams, better known as Walter Williams, (1834-1906) was born Nov. 29, 1834 in London, and baptized with his sister Caroline and his brother Francis on June 26, 1837 at the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. He was a painter like his father, and he married another painter, Jane Caroline Pearcy (1832-1872) on June 27, 1857 at St. George Hanover Square in London. They had two children, both of whom became painters also. Jane died on Oct. 20, 1872 in Barnes, Surrey (Richmond registration district), afterwhich George remarried two more times. His second wife died sometime before 1890, but we know nothing more about her, and his third wife was a woman thirty years his junior, whom some believed caused his financial ruin. He ended up in the Croydon Workhouse and transferred in 1905 from that institution to the Richmond Union Workhouse. He died alone and in poverty on April 14, 1906 in Richmond, Surrey, and was buried in a pauper's grave. Because he generally went by the name of Walter Williams, some sources attribute to him a twin brother named George. However, as his baptismal record proves, George and Walter are the same person. He is sometimes confused with a different painter named Walter Heath Williams, to whom he is not related. There is also a Cornish landscape painter named William Williams (c.1808-1895) who signed his work as W. Williams, and with whom both George Walter Williams and Walter Heath Williams are often confused. There is a Wikipedia Article on George Walter Williams.
Florence Ada Williams (1858-1927) was born on Dec. 16, 1858 at Lonsdale Terrace in Barnes, Surrey (near London), and baptized on March 21, 1859 at St. George Hanover Square in London, where her parents had married. She became a painter, like her father. She married Capt. Julian Augustus Ellis (1859-1926) of the 7th Surrey Corps on Dec. 24, 1884 in London, and he resigned his commission to become a solicitor. After his retirement and upon the decease of his father, he changed his name in 1921 to Julian Augustus Turnley Ellis-Fermor in order to succeed to his father's estate. Julian died on July 15, 1926 in Kingsclere, Hampshire, and Florence died in 1927 in the Lewisham registration district of London. They had two children from whom there are present-day descendants. .
Herbert Frederick Williams (1859-1859) was born in 1859 in Barnes, Surrey (near London), and baptized on Oct. 28, 1859 in a "private ceremony" at St. Mary's Church in Barnes. He died an infant either that day, or a few days later.
Cyril Stanley Williams (b. 1863) was born on Nov. 27, 1863 at No. 8 Lonsdale Terrace in Barnes, Surrey (near London), and baptized on Jan. 31, 1864 at St. George Hanover Square in London, where his parents had married. Like his sister, he followed his father's profession to become a painter. He is found living with his sister Florence and her husband in the 1891 U.K. census, afterwhich we lose track of him. .
Caroline Fanny Williams (1836-1921) was born December 25, 1836 in St Marylebone, London, and baptized with her brothers on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. She became a painter, like her father, and after her mother died, she became her father's housekeeper. Sometime in the 1870s she adopted Maud Marion Williams, the orphaned daughter of her brother Frederick. She is said to have been devoted to Maud, and the two of them remained with her father until his death. Caroline died on December 30, 1921 at Forest Hill, London, presumably while still living with Maud. As Caroline's name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of Jan. 5, 1922, she is almost certainly buried with her father in the Old Barnes Cemetery. There is a Wikipedia Article on Caroline Fanny Williams.
Francis Augustus Williams (b. 1837) was born May 26, 1837 in London, and baptized with his siblings on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. Although nothing further is known of him for sure, he might be the Francis Augustus Williams whose marriage took place in 1881 in Lambeth, London. The lack of records could also be an indication that he died young. .
Frederick Charles Williams (1840-c.1877) was born on Oct. 14, 1840 at his parents home at No. 4 London Street in Islington, London, and he is listed as their son in the 1841 U.K. Census. He married Kate Way in 1868 at Westminster St. Margaret in London and had they one daughter, Maud Marion Williams, who was raised by his spinster sister Caroline Fanny Williams. His daughter's 1869 birth certificate shows that at the time he worked as an officer at Millbank Prison, but his daughter's 1877 baptism record gave his occupation several years later as a railway official, and shows him as deceased. Kate appears to have been present at Maud's baptism and gave their address as No. 4 Castelnau Cottages, which was the home of Kate's father-in-law George Augustus Williams. Kate most likely died before the 1881 U.K. Census, which shows Maud, but not Kate, living with Maud's grandfather and her Aunt Caroline. .
Maud Marion Williams (1869-1943) was born on June 1, 1869 at Ponsonby Terrace, just outside Millbank Prison - the latter being more or less on the site of the modern Tate Museum. She was not baptized until several years later on June 15, 1877 at the Barnes, Holy Trinity parish church, the baptism apparently taking place after her father's death. She, and possibly her mother, were living at the time in the home of Maud's grandfather, George Augustus Williams. Family tradition holds that Maud was a cripple with a deformed foot, and that when she was orphaned at an early age, she was adopted by her aunt Caroline Fanny Williams. She listed her adult occupation as a dressmaker, and we always find her in the same household with Caroline. She also maintained a short list of family birthdays in a small book that was available to Jan Reynolds, author of the Williams Family of Painters. Maud and Caroline moved after the 1901 death of Caroline's father to Forest Hill, in the Lewisham Borough of London, where we find them during the 1911 U.K. Census. Presumably they were still together in 1921 when Caroline died at Forest Hill. Maud died many years later on Aug. 31, 1943 at the age of 74 at St. Benedicts Hospital in Wandsworth, Surrey, but her address at the time was in Hammersmith. She was buried on Sept. 3, 1943 in Mortlake Cemetery in Hammersmith, London. .
Albert Williams (1854-1855), the son of George Augustus Williams and his second wife Jane Newman, was born on Aug. 26, 1854 in Richmond, Surrey and baptized on March 15, 1855 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church, about three weeks after his mother's burial. He died the next day on March 16 1855 in Castelnau Barnes, and as his name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church, he is almost certainly buried with his parents in the Old Barnes Cemetery. .
Emily Ann Williams (1816-1857) was born June 7, 1816 in London and baptized June 30, 1816 at the same St. Mary Marylebone church in Westminster where her older brothers Edward, Henry and George were baptized. She was also present as a witness when her brother Henry in 1833 married Clara Boddington. However, Emily is best known as the mother of the Victorian landscape painter Charles Leslie (1839-1886), her son by her husband of the same name. One wonders what the relationship is, if any, of Emily's husband to the Charles Leslie who many years before in Southwark, London on Sept. 18, 1805 married Charlotte Ward, possibly a younger sister of Emily's uncle James Ward, RA?? Her husband may have also been related to the Leslie family who were the Earls of Rothes, as his daughter was given the middle name Rothes. Charles predeceased his wife, but we do not know his death date. Emily died on Dec. 16, 1857 at the age of 41 in the Wimbledon registration district of Surrey, with her son Charles junior as witness. Her death certificate lists her as the widow of Charles Leslie, gentleman. Her name appears in the burial register of the Barnes parish church with a burial date of Dec. 23, 1857, and she shares a tombstone with her parents in the Old Barnes Cemetery. , Residences of Emily Ann Williams.
Charles Edward John Leslie (1839-1886) was born on Nov. 27, 1839 in the Pentonville Road area of the Islington borough of London. His parents on his birth certificate are listed as Charles Leslie, gentleman, and Emily Leslie formerly Williams. He is almost certainly the 1-year old Charles Williams who is listed with Emily as a member of Edward Williams' household in the 1841 UK Census. There is in this same household a 20-year old man named Charles, who is not a son of Edward Williams, but who is most likely Emily's husband, and the father of their son. The younger Charles in 1856 and 1857 lived with, and presumably studied under, his artist uncle George Augustus Williams at 32 Castelnau Villas. As such, he must be considered a member of the 'Barnes School of Painters'. He is not to be confused with the much better known Charles Robert Leslie, RA, the father of George Dunlop Leslie, RA. The lesser known Charles Leslie exhibited from 1856 to 1862 at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and at Suffolk Street, and he painted in a style reminiscent of Arthur Gilbert and Sidney Richard Percy.
Leslie apparently had relationships with at least two women. Although both are identified in documents as his wife, no evidence has been found to demonstrate that he married either one. Yet he did have three sons with first "wife" Emma Bridger (1834-1910). The first son was born as Henry Bridger, with no father listed on his birth certificate, but he later changed his surname to Leslie, and he lists "Charles Leslie, landscape painter", as his father on his wedding certificate. The other two sons were both born with the surname Leslie, and the birth records for both list "Charles Leslie, landscape painter" as their father.
Charles and Emma parted ways after the birth of the third son, as the 1871 and 1881 U.K. Census show Charles living with a different woman named Esther (b. c.1848), who is identified in both returns as his wife. Emma appears in a different household, bearing the surname Leslie, and with all three sons under her care. Interestingly, a stark landscape (A Loch Landscape by Moonlight) exists that is signed 'Chas Leslie Snr 1875', which implies that there may have been a fourth son named Charles. The elder Charles Leslie died of liver disease at the age of 46 on Sept. 9, 1886 at Mitcham Road Tooting near Wandsworth, Surrey (now Greater London), and he was buried on Sept. 15, 1886 in Lambeth Cemetery in the Tooting Graveney parish of Wandsworth. His three sons with Emma Bridger are listed below. There is a Wikipedia Article on Charles Leslie.
Henry Leslie (1856-1931), also known as "Harry", was born as Henry Bridger on Feb. 28, 1856 in Mortlake, Surrey. Although his parents were not married, the identity of his father is given on his marriage record, and he assumed his father's surname of Leslie from at least 1871 on. He married Kate Dennis (1855-1906) on June 10, 1878 at St. James the Great Church in Bethnal Green, London, and he and Kate had a large family of eleven children. Although the British BMD index shows that he died on March 31, 1931 in Eton, Buckinghamshire, his actual death was in East Ham, London, where he is buried with Kate at St. Mary Magdalen Church.
Norman Robert Leslie (1862-1941) was born on Jan. 29, 1862 in Hammersmith in Shepherds Bush, London. Although Norman and Sarah Catherine Faulkner (1865-1960) had seven children, all born in the West Ham area of Essex, they did not marry until Sept. 14, 1934, nearly fifty years after the birth of their first child. Interestingly, he incorrectly listed the name of his father on his and Sarah's wedding certificate as "Henry Robert Leslie (deceased), artist", which is a strong indication that he barely knew his father as a child, or that he may have had no personal memory of his father. Norman died on May 4, 1941 in Chelsea, London, and he is buried with Sarah and several of their children in Woodgrange Park Cemetery in East Ham, London.
Graham Stanley Leslie (1863-1938) was born on Dec. 10, 1863 in Hammersmith in Shepherds Bush, London. He never married, and died on Feb. 7, 1938 in Ilford, Essex. He is buried at Woodgrange Park Cemetery in East Ham, in the same grave with his mother, and one of his nieces.
Emilie Ann Rothes Leslie (1844-1931) was born on Sept. 26, 1844 in London. She became an orphan when she was only thirteen years old, and presumably her artist uncles assumed responsibility for her upbringing. It would appear that when she was baptized at the age of fifteen on July 29, 1860 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church, her aunt and uncle Sarah and Arthur Gilbert stood in for her parents, as the church baptism registry shows her as the daughter of Charles (deceased gentleman) and Emily Leslie, yet has the names Arthur (artist) and Sarah Williams very clearly crossed out beneath the names of her parents. She then appears during the 1861 U.K. Census at a girl's boarding school in West Ham All Saints (St. John) in Essex County. She married Lieutenant Colonel Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollok (1832-1909) on her 22nd birthday on Sept. 26, 1866 at the Barnes parish church in Surrey, the marriage being Fitzwilliam's second. Her husband had been born in India and had spent much of his military career there, before gaining some modest fame as the author of two books, the first being "Fifty Years' Reminiscences of India: A Retrospect of Travel, Adventure and Shikar", and the other titled "Sport in British Burmah, Assam and the Cassyah and Jyntiah Hills: With notes of sport in the hilly districts of the Northern Division, Madras Presidency". Emilie died on Oct. 25, 1931 in Malta, and was buried there the following day in the Ta' Braxia Cemetery, which is located in the town of Pieta on the outskirts of Valletta, the capital city of Malta. .
Arthur Gilbert Frederick Williams (1819-1895), was born December 19, 1819 at Newington Butts Road in Stoke Newington, London. He studied painting under his father and older brothers, and became known for moonlit night scenes, and stark mountain landscapes uncluttered by trees or people. Like his brothers Henry and Sidney, he tried to distinguish himself from the other members of his family by avoiding the use of his surname, and his paintings are typically signed 'Arthur Gilbert'.
Arthur married his first wife Elizabeth Jane Williams (1820-1849), the daughter of John Williams, on January 23, 1843 at St. Martin in the Fields in London. As Arthur and Elizabeth had the same last name, one wonders if they might have been cousins. Their daughter Kate was born later that year, and the following year Arthur was baptized with his daughter Kate on Sept. 9 at the Old St. Pancras Church, the same church where his parents had been married. Elizabeth died due to tuberculosis on Aug. 29, 1849, and she was buried on Sept. 5, 1849 in Hammersmith. He married his second wife Sarah Ann Godfrey (1830-1898?) six years later on June 28, 1854 at the Barnes parish church. Sarah, who had been born on June 12, 1830 (according to David Smith family papers) in the St. Andrew Holburn parish in London, was the daughter of a law clerk (later a lawyer) named John Godfrey (b. c.1804) and his wife Eliza Tapener (B. 1804). Arthur and Sarah's son Horace Walter Gilbert was born the following year.
Arthur Gilbert lived at times in Weybridge and Hammersmith, but he spent most of his years with Sarah at Lonsdale Terrace in Barnes, close to his brothers at the Castelnau Villas. He and Sarah moved to Redhill, Surrey in 1873, and then to De Tillens in Limpsfield, Surrey, which was their home for many years. Although he is said to have had a weak constitution, which in those days often meant an early death, he still reached the age of 75 years and died on April 21, 1895 in Croydon, Surrey, near the home of his brother Alfred. He is listed in the death records under his birth name of Arthur Gilbert Fredrick Williams. Sarah does not seem to appear in the 1901 U.K. Census, which makes it possible that she is the same Sarah Williams who died at the age of 70 in 1898 in Croydon. It is not known where Arthur and Sarah are buried, but it is possible that they are buried at the Queen's Road Cemetery in Croydon, which is located only a couple of miles from where Arthur Gilbert died. However, this is speculation and has yet to be confirmed. There is a Wikipedia Article on Arthur Gilbert. SEE ALSO: Residences of Arthur Gilbert.
Kate Elizabeth Ellen Gilbert-Williams (1843-1916), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his first wife Elizabeth Williams, was born on December 17, 1843 in London, and baptized with her father on Sept. 9, 1844 at the St. Pancras parish church. She became a painter, and exhibited her works. She married a widowed schoolmaster named Humphrey Hughes (1833-1885) on Aug. 18, 1880 at Brixton St. John the Evangelist church in Lambeth, Surrey, and became a stepmother to his three children from his previous marriage to Lavinia Bird (1836-1878). These children, named Lavinia, Agnes and Humphrey, were all members of Kate and Humphrey's household in the 1881 U.K. Census. That same year Kate and Humphrey had a son born, whom they named Arthur Gilbert Horace Hughes (1881-1901).
Humphrey senior died in 1885, afterwhich Kate did not remarry. Presumably she raised Humphrey's children as her own, but we find her living without them in the household of her father during the 1891 UK Census, and then in the household of her uncle George Augustus Williams during the 1901 census. Ten years later during the 1911 census, we find her running a boarding house on Georges Street in Sutton, Surrey. She was still in Sutton (Epsom registration district) when she died on April 15, 1916 at an address on Collingwood Road. She was buried on April 19, 1916 in Barnes, which makes it likely that she is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, which is where it is likely that her son Arthur is also buried. There is a Wikipedia Article on Kate Gilbert.
Horace Walter Gilbert-Williams (1855-1928), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his second wife Sarah Williams, was born on April 6, 1855 in the Kensington district of London, and baptized May 11, 1855 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. Like his father and sister, he became an artist and exhibited his works. However, he did not pursue art as a career, and worked instead as a civil servant for the Geological Survey, and also as university lecturer. He married Mary Thomas (1873-1916) on Oct. 2, 1895 in the Fulham district of London. He died on March 26, 1928 in Huyton, Lancashire (Prescot registration district) when he was knocked off of his bicycle by a motor car. Although the accident occured in Huyton, his address at the time was in nearby Whiston. His wife Mary, who had been born in 1873 in Pen-llwyn (Aberystwith), Cardiganshire (modern Ceredigion), Wales, predeceased him and died in October of 1916, probably in London, but possibly in Lancashire. Both of them are buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery in London. There is a Wikipedia Article on Horace Walter Gilbert.
Reginald Horace Gilbert-Williams (1896-1970). .
Gwendolen Edith Mary Gilbert-Williams (1898-1968) married Dudley Nisbett (1894-1955), and their grandson Patrick Nisbett (b. 1947) is the author of an online genealogy of the family that is listed in the references below. .
Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905) was born July 18, 1824 in London, one of identical twins, but his twin brother survived only a few days. Alfred followed his older brothers as a painter, and his work was first accepted by the Royal Academy in 1843, after which he regularly exhibited there until 1890, as well as with the Society of British Artists. He was close to his brother Sidney Richard Percy, and boarded with the Percys in 1857 at their home Florence Villa, in Wimbledon. He settled around 1860 in Reigate in Surrey, and the 1861 UK census lists him as boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Fitzsimon. Then in 1870 he was at Mead Vale in Redhill, Surrey. He married his housekeeper, a widow named Ann Hutchence (c.1833-1921?) on Aug. 13, 1888 at Reigate, Surrey. Ann, who was about ten years his junior, had been a member of Alfred's household during the 1881 UK Census, when she had a 19-year old daughter named Ada Louisa Hutchence (1861-1936) in the same house. She was the daughter of Richard and Mary Thornton of Reigate, and the widow of Thomas Hutchence (1834-1862). Alfred and Ann moved in 1895 to 40 Croydon Road in Reigate, close to his brother Arthur Gilbert, who lived on Canterbury Road in West Croydon, but unfortunately Arthur died that same year. Alfred died on December 16, 1905 in the Croydon registration district, with his estate settled in probate to the benefit of his wife, and his nephew Horace Gilbert-Williams. His address at the time was in Heath, Surrey. Although Alfred's wife Ann had two daughters from her previous marriage, there is no evidence that Alfred and Ann had any children together. Alfred and his wife Ann are both buried in the Mitcham Road Cemetery in Croydon, Surrey. There is a Wikipedia Article on Alfred Walter Williams. SEE ALSO: Residences of Alfred Walter Williams.
Charles Willliams (1824-1824) was the twin brother of Alfred. He was born on July 18, 1824 in London, and died sortly after birth. .
Sidney Richard Percy (1822-1886), the son of Edward Williams and Ann Hildebrant, was born Sidney Richard Williams on March 22, 1822 (according to his tombstone) in London. The 1895 edition of the Dictionary of National Biography lists Percy's birth date simply as 1821?, and the date of 1821 is reported by most subsequent biographies. However, his tombstone was placed when his wife and three of his children were still living, so it is probably more accurate. Unfortunately no baptism record has been found that might verify his birth date. It would appear the even though the older Williams children were baptized, Sidney and his brothers Arthur and Alfred were not. The fact that Sidney's older brother Arthur chose to be baptized as an adult in 1843 at the age of 23 would tend to support this supposition.
Sidney was taught to paint by his father and older brothers, and early on showed talent as a landscape painter. Although his early paintings were signed "Sidney Williams", he used the name "Percy" from about the age of 20 onwards to differentiate his paintings from those of his father and brothers. He began exhibiting his work in 1842 at the Royal Academy, and he exhibited as well at the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists, eventually displaying about three hundred of his works at the various British exhibitions. Most of his paintings are landscapes of North Wales, Devon, Yorkshire, the Lake District, and Skye, with cows at the edge of lakes or in the heather.
He was also an avid amateur photographer, and some of his paintings show figures based on photographs that he took of gypsies frequenting the area around Barnes and Wimbledon Commons. Seven of these photographs reside in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which states on the museum website that some of these photographs appear to have been staged, rather than taken in actual rural settings, and depict household servants dressed up to look like gypsies. Pictures also survive that he took at home of various family members, as wells as views of fishing boats and old buildings, typically in the form of toned and unmounted albumen paper prints stored in family albums.
Sidney Richard Williams signed his name as Sidney Richard Percy Williams (above) on his marriage certificate when he married Emily Charlotte Fairlam on June 10, 1857 in the Barnes Parish Church. However, he also referred to himself around this time as Richard in an inscription that he wrote on the back of a glass ambrotype (a type of photograph) of himself that he gave to Emily as a gift, and which is still held by his descendants. He was known to the public though, and appears in the census records and exhibition catalogs, as Sidney Richard Percy.
His new wife Emily had been born on July 5, 1835, probably in central London, to parents Richard Wilcox Fairlam (1802-1851) and Mary Ann Shepheard (1806-1872), and she was baptized Dec. 23, 1835 at Christ Church in St. Marylebone, Westminster. She was one of the younger children of a large family of several children. Her father listed his occupation at various times as a pawn broker, victualler (i.e., a vendor with a liquor license), and wine and spirit merchant, but he is remembered by the family as having been a jeweler, which was probably related to his business as a pawn broker. Emily is shown with her husband in the photograph above right. The baby she is holding is probably their first-born child Gordon Fairlam Percy.
Percy's address when he married Emily Fairlam in 1857 was at 32 Castelnau Villa in Barnes, where he had lived since 1846 in a communal artists setting with his father, who died in 1855, his brothers George and Alfred, and probably a couple of nephews who served as apprentices. However, when Sidney and Emily married, they moved to Florence Villa on Inner Park Road in nearby Wimbledon, Surrey, where three of their children were soon born. Although Florence Villa was a substantial house on an acre and half, with coach house and servants quarters, Percy's fortunes were on the rise, and his wife Emily may have felt that they needed a larger place more befitting their increased income.
Sidney Richard Percy in a photo taken about 1856 that shows him without his beard. This photo is incorrectly identified in Reynolds (1975) as Henry Boddington.
Hill House, Great Missenden, where Sidney Richard Percy lived from 1863 to c.1872, and where Herbert Sidney Percy was born. This house is located on the west side of Great Missenden, between Stocking's Wood and Frith Hill Road.
Sidney Richard Percy in later years. Notice how in both pictures he parts his hair on the right side, which is opposite from the side where most people part their hair.
The Percys moved in 1863 to Buckinghamshire, where they bought a large, three-storey house in Great Missenden called Hill House. This place, complete with cellar and servants quarters, was built between 1810 and 1819 by the aboltionist lawyer James Stephens (1758-1832), who from 1808 to 1815 had been a Member of Parliament. Percy was at the peak of his popularity during his days at Hill House, with sufficient income for his wife to indulge in her extravagant tastes, which included a carriage and several servants. He also made frequent visits to the hills of Scotland and Wales these days to paint, and he travelled in 1865, probably alone, to Italy, Switzerland and France, where he spent part of his time with the painter William Callow, who was a friend and neighbor from Great Missenden. Unfortunately, his travels were cut short when war broke out in 1866 between Prussia and Austria, forcing him to return to Hill House.
Percy continued to work on his skills as an amateur photographer, but it is not known if he also exhibited his photographs. However, he did win in 1868 a prestigious First Class silver medal from the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Institute. Although these medals were particularly sought after by professional photographers of the day, who displayed them to promote their businesses, it is not known whether Percy won his medal for his photographs, or for his paintings. Either one is possible, as the annual exhibition for the Institure included a Fine Arts Section (I) for Professional Artists' Oil and Water Colour Drawings, as well as a Photography Section (II) for Amateur submissions of photographs. His silver medal is shown below, with his name, and the date of the award inscribed on the rim.
Though once very much in demand, Sidney Richard Percy's paintings by the 1870s no longer brought in the high prices they once commanded, and as his income declined he and Emily had to give up Hill House in 1872 or early 1873 for more modest accommodations at Bickley Lodge in Redhill, Surrey. They then moved about 1879 or so to Woodseat in Sutton, Surrey, where Sidney spent his final years at an address at 34 Mulgrave Road. His knee was injured when he was thrown from a horse in a riding accident, and when his leg had to be amputed as a consequence, he died prematurely at his home on April 13, 1886 of complications from the operation. Though once quite wealthy, his finances at the time of his death were no longer robust, and his estate was valued at only £712 14s when it was settled in probate to the benefit of his wife. Emily auctioned off her husband's remaining paintings on Nov. 27, 1886 to supplement this inheritance, but these earnings did not last, and she had to be supported in her final years by her Quaker son-in-law Fred Reynolds. She died on Sept. 11, 1904 at her home at 109 Bear Road, Preston, which is in Steyning, Sussex. Both Sidney Richard and Charlotte are buried at the Beckenham Cemetery on Elmers End Road, which is located in the Beckenham parish on the outskirts of London. Although their tombstone is inscribed only with Sidney's name, birth and death dates, cemetery records confirm that Charlotte is buried there too. There is a Wikipedia Article on Sidney Richard Percy. SEE ALSO: Residences of Sidney Richard Percy.
The tombstone of Sidney Richard Percy at Beckenham Cemetery. His wife Emily is buried in the same grave, but with no inscription for her.
The children of Sidney Richard Percy and wife Emily Fairlam follow:
children - PERCY
Gordon Fairlam Percy (1858-1870), the oldest child of Sidney and Emily Percy, was born Gordon Fairlam Percy Williams on April 12, 1858 at Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptized on June 18, 1858 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. He died suddenly at the age of 12 on Sept. 12, 1870 while on a trip to the south coast of England near Westhampnett, Sussex, when, according to his niece Sidney Dolores Percy Bunce, Gordon suddenly collapsed while chasing his sister Amy along the beach and died from a heart attack or stroke. His death date is known from a small gold ring that has "In memory Gordon Fairlam Percy Obt 12 Sept 1870 AET 12 " inscribed on the inside. A likely photograph of Gordon that was kept in the family photo album, and was probably taken by his father, is shown below. .
Edith Maude Percy (1859-1883) was born Edith Maude Percy Williams on April 14, 1859 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptized on June 15, 1859 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. She never married nor had children, and died from diptheria as a young woman on Oct. 14, 1883 at her parents home in Woodseat, Sutton, Surrey. A likely photograph of Edith that was kept in the family photo album, and was probably taken by her father, is shown above. .
Amy Dora Percy (1860-1957) was born Amy Dora Percy Williams on Nov. 14, 1860 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district) and baptized on Dec. 19, 1860 at the Barnes, St. Mary parish church. Her father trained her as an artist, and she exhibited in 1884 one painting titled "At Stagnel. Cornwall" at the Royal Academy of Art, but her art career was brief. She married Richard Freshfield "Fred" Reynolds (1860-1907) on Sept. 15, 1886 in Bedford Park, Chiswick, London. Her husband was a well-known pharmaceutical chemist, whose firm of Reynolds and Branson of Leeds sold medical supplies. Amy and Fred lived in Leeds in the 1890s, before moving to the countryside of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire, about 15 miles northwest of Leeds. Fred died prematurely on June 1, 1907 in West Riding, West Yorkshire of heart failure due to complications from a fall in the street that resulted in a broken ankle. He was a Quaker, from a long line of Quakers, and he is buried with other Quaker members of his family in the Adel Friends Cemetery in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
Amy was encouraged by her husband early on in their marriage to write, and she began by publishing some poetry, which led to a children's book, and then some novels. She moved her family to a house at Y Nyth, Llanbedr, Wales after her husband's death, and she lived here until about 1920, during which time she became a reasonably well-known writer under the pen name of Mrs. Fred Reynolds. She ultimately published from 1890 to 1936 some 42 books. Her first was a collection of "Songs and Poems" (1890), followed by "The Pigmies of Ilkley Moor" (1893), which she co-wrote with her husband for their children, and illustrated herself. An early novel was "An Idyll of the Dawn" (1898), which was biographical in part and took place in the garden setting of Hill House in Great Missenden, where she grew up. "The Man with the Wooden Face" (1903) was one novel of hers that received a not-so favorable review in the New York Times, but her subsequent "A Quaker Wooing" (1905), about her courtship by her husband, was very well received and quite poplular in Britain. Another successful novel was "Miss Ann Tankerton (1926)", and her last was the "The Woman Drives" (1936).
Amy was interred during WWII with her daughter Eldrid for about 3½ years in Italy. They had been living for several years in Bordighera (near Nice) on the Italian Riveria, when they misjudged the seriousness of impending hostilies, and were placed in custody by Italian authorities when Italy on June 10, 1940 declared war on Britain. They were subsequently taken about 20 miles east of Naples to the small mountain village of Mercogliano in the province of Avellino, where they were placed under house arrest in the town Trattoria Genarelli (a restaurant with rooms). They remained here until September 1943 when Avellino was liberated by the advancing American 5th Army. However, it took another 18 months before they were able to leave the country. Amy, who by now was 83 years old, suffered a severe stroke on June 16, 1944 in Italy, and was admitted to a British Army hospital, where she made a full recovery. It was not until April 24, 1945 that they made it back home to England, where Amy lived many more years. She died on June 11, 1957 at the age of 96 at Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria, Lancashire. She and Fred Reynolds had the three children, who are listed below. A photograph of Amy that was taken in 1910 is shown on the right. .
Richard Frederick Reynolds (1888-1918) was born on Dec. 5, 1888 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. He trained as a painter under Stanhope Forbes, R.A., but his art career was cut short when he enlisted during WWI in the British Army. He served as a lieutenant and later a Captain in the 6th Reserve Regiment of the Household Calvary and Cavalry of the Line, and he apparently was also associated with the Yeomonary and Imperial Camel Corp. He was killed in action on Oct. 2, 1918 in Flanders, Belgium, less than two months before the end of the war. He is buried with other war dead at Perth Cemetery (China Wall) in Ypres, Belgium. .
Dora Eldrid Reynolds (1889-1958), who was called Eldrid, was born in 1889 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. Like her mother, she painted, and she also wrote two novels - Red Rocks (1911) and Whispering Dust (1913). She was interned with her mother in 1940 in Italy during WWII, and it was not until April 1945 that they returned to Britain. Eldrid never married and died on Sept. 28, 1958 on the Isle of Wight, only a year after her mother's passing. .
Kenneth Richard Reynolds (1892-1960) was born on July 9, 1892 in Headingley, Leeds, Yorkshire, and grew up in West Yorkshire. He enlisted during WWI as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Bedfordshire Regiment of the British Army, and spent time in France. An interesting coincidence is that at some point he was the commanding officer of Jack Bunce, a young man who moved after the war to the United States and married Kenneth's cousin Sidney Percy. Kenneth came home from the war, and married Sissie Jeanette Gray (1894-1987) in 1922 in Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding. He and Sissie lived at first in Yorkshire, but moved in 1936 to a house called Lone Beech in Baslow near Bakewell, Derbyshire, which is next to the Peak District of northern England. They were living here in 1939 when Kenneth gave his occupation as a "Retired News Agent Stationer (Shop Keeper). His Aunt Maude Percy was the mother of his cousin Sidney Bunce, and when Maude passed away in 1948, he made many of the funeral arrangements for her. He lived at Lone Beech when he died on Jan. 19, 1960 at the Royal Hospital in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. He is buried in Baslow at St. Anne's Church. His wife Sissie, who was born on May 20, 1894 in Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, died on June 4, 1987 in Bakewell, Derbyshire, having lived at the Lone Beech house for over 50 years. .
Elnora Jeanette (Jan) Reynolds (1925-2012), the daughter of Richard Frederick Reynolds and Sissie Gray, was born May 21, 1925 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. She is the author of the Williams Family of Painters, which is the source of much of the information in this family history. She worked in various London art galleries, and became a respected art historian, writing three books on Victorian landscape artists - the aforementioned book on the Williams famly, a biography on William Callow, and a biography of Birket Foster. She lived off and on over a period of 76 years at her parents home of Lone Beech in Baswell near Bakewell, Derbyshire, and though she never married nor had children, she always shared her house with one or more of her beloved cats. She died of pneumonia on Oct. 1, 2012 at a hospital near her home in Derbyshire. Her ashes reside in the Chesterfield Crematorium. .
Herbert Sidney Percy (1863-1932), the son of Sidney Richard Percy and Emily Charlotte Fairlam, was born Herbert Sidney Percy Williams on Feb. 18, 1863 at Hill House in Great Missenden (Amersham registration district), Buckinghamshire, where his parents had moved to just before he was born. He was baptized on June 3, 1863 at Great Missenden, whereas his siblings had all been baptized in Barnes. Like his father, he became a painter. He received his first instruction in his father's studio, before being admitted to the Copes School of Art in London, where he won a scholarship at the age of 18 to study painting at the Royal Academy of Art Schools in London.
Herbert began on Dec. 6, 1881 the first of two sessions at the Antique School of the Royal Academy. His round, ivory "ticket" to the School is shown below. He was an exceptional student, and won a Silver Medal (2nd of two prizes) for a "Set of Six Life Drawings" in the student exhibition during the second year of his first session. He then earned two more Silver Medals the following year at the conclusion of his first session. The first of these was the only medal awarded for a "Cartoon of a Draped Figure in Chalk or Charcoal" that he titled "Virgil Reading to Augustus and Octavia", and the second medal was one of two awarded for the category of a "Painting of a Figure from Life". He would have also received a medal in the category of a "Set of Six Life Drawings", but he was disqualified for receiving "a superior prize in the same competition last year". His medals disappeared during the London bombings of WWII, his daughter believing that they were stolen by servants, who also made off with much of the family silverware. These medals would have been similar to the example shown below and right.
Herbert, in addition to winning three Silver Medals during his first session at the Academy, also won the "Landseer Scholarship in Painting ... of 40£ a year ... tenable for two years, given for the best work done in the examination for passing into the second term of studentship.". This was the first year that the scholarship was offered, and because no Gold Medal was awarded that year, Herbert's scholarship was equivalent to a Gold Medal of previous years. Thus, Herbert was the very first recipient in the history of the academy to receive the scholarship for painting, with William Toogood becoming the first recipient of the scholarship for sculpture. The Landseer Scholarships continued to be given annually from 1884 up until 1950, when these awards were discontinued.
Herbert Sidney Percy was a prolific painter and exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists (eight works), the Royal Society of Painters in Oils, and other venues. His paintings surface from time to time at several of the major art auction houses in England, and many of his works hang in the homes of prominent English families. He considered himself primarily a portrait and miniature painter, as those brought in the big commissions, but he was equally adept at landscapes. He also restored paintings, and illustrated magazines and books, including "The English Illustrated Magazine", and the 1886 editions of "The Distant Hills" and "Shadow of the Cross" by the Rev. William Adams (published by F. Warne & Sons). He was also a competent engraver, and some of his engravings appear in books written and illustrated by his close friend G. K. Chesterton. A plaster sculpture by him, and a beaten copper bas relief, both of which are still held by the family, demonstrate his versatility as an artist. Both probably date to his studies at the Academy.
Herbert married Maud Anna Maria Thompson on Oct. 22, 1891 in a large wedding with many guests at St. Michael and All Angels Church at Bedford Park, Chiswick, London. Maud's Uncle Rev. Arthur Steinkopff Thompson, the Vicar of Baulking, was one of two pastors performing the ceremony. Maud, who was born on Sept. 11, 1866 in Wandsworth, Surrey, was the daughter of Theophilus Wathen Thompson (1832-1905), a wealthy London solicitor (lawyer), and his wife Anna Maria Abbott (1833-1917), who was descended from an English merchant family from the Levant (Turkey). Maud was also the older sister of the well-known Shakespearean actress and silent film star Constance Crawley. Maud and Herbert had one child, Sidney Dolores Percy (1892-1965), who followed in her father's footsteps as a painter.
Herbert died before Maud on Oct. 8, 1932 at their home in the Hammersmith District of West London at 29 Sycamore Gardens, which also appears as 29 Avenue Road. Although Maud stayed on here for several more years, the London bombings of WWII wrecked havoc on much of her neighborhood, and left her in fragile health, so she retired to Derbyshire in the north of England. Here she died on Nov. 14, 1948 at a rest home in the town Wirksworth (Belper Registration District). Maud is buried with Herbert in London in the Hammersmith Borough Cemetery (Mortlake), but no tombstone marks their grave site. The only child of Herbert and Maud is listed below. There is a Wikipedia Article on Herbert Sidney Percy.
Bookplates for Herbert and Maude Percy (left), and their daughter Sidney Dolores Percy (right).
Sidney Dolores Percy (1892-1965), the daughter of Herbert Sidney Percy and Maud Anna Maria Thompson, was born on Aug. 19, 1892 in Chelsea, the artists quarter of London, and christened a few weeks later on Oct. 21st at St. Michael and All Angels Church, which is the same church in the Bedford Park parish of the Chiswick District of West London, where her parents had married. She studied painting under her father, and at the St. John's Wood School of Art in London, where she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Art at Burlington House on Piccadilly Street. However, this was a time when women were not encouraged to study at the Academy, and the donating institution, the name of which is not known to us, withdrew the scholarship, when they realized that she was not a man.
Prior to World War I, Sidney became engaged to South African lawyer, politican, and sportsman Oswald Pirow (1890-1959), when he was studying abroad in England. However, he broke off their engagement when he returned to South Africa, and in 1919 he married another. Ultimately, Pirow became the Minister of Justice, and later the Minister of Defence for South Africa. He was a controversal figure at the start of World War II due to his Nazi sympathies, which effectively ended his political career when the war came to an end. However, he and Sidney continued to correspond over the years, and a fascinating letter survives that he wrote to her describing meetings that he had in the late 1930s with Hitler and Mussolini.
The death of Sidney's best friend and cousin Vere Crawley in 1918, the subsequent death in 1919 of Vere's mother Constance, who was Sidney's favorite aunt, then the marriage a few months later of Sidney's former fianceé Oswald Pirow, and the end that November of WWI, gave Sidney a lot to think about. There was also much discussion in British society about the "surplus women problem" resulting from the deaths of so many eligible young bachelors during the war. Sidney, who was unmarried and in her late twenties, was now labeled a spinster, which encouraged her to make arrangements with the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women to employ in Canada. She sailed from England on Sept. 24, 1921 on the S.S. Megantic bound for Quebec, Canada, and settled on the Canadian prairie in Whitemouth, a town that was located about fifty miles west of Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba. There she was placed with a family as a "teacher - home help", which presumably means she ended up working as a nanny.
We know little about the next two years that Sidney lived in Manitoba, but she used to mention a trip that she made at some point to visit her maternal aunt and uncle, Alan and Ada Thompson, at their home in Niagara Falls, New York. She apparently was living in an apartment in Winnipeg in the Summer of 1923, just before she made a visit to the resort of Lake Louise in Alberta. There at the old Lake Louise Lodge, which has since burned down, she met Henry John (Jack) Bunce, the son of a mining agent named Robert Bunce (1858-1930) and his wife Margaret Hare (1861-1945). Jack and his older brother Warry were working at the lodge, and they used to dance with Sidney in the evenings. Sidney used to tell how Warry was an excellent dancer, but Jack, whose dancing skill left something to be desired, would keep cutting in. One thing led to another, and Sidney and Jack were subsequently married on Oct. 3, 1923 at St. Andrews Church on Richards and Georgia Streets in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jack, like Sidney, had been born in London, but he was several years her junior. However, Sidney by now was putting 1897 as her birthdate on all official documents, instead of the correct year of 1892, and we suspect that it is unlikely that Jack ever learned her true age.
Sidney, on the same day as her marriage, took a boat alone from Vancouver to Seattle, Washington, where she was soon rejoined by Jack. They then traveled to California, where they started their life together in Pasadenea, which was same town where Jack's parents, and some of his older brothers and sisters, had recently moved to from England. Jack and Sidney's daughter Jackie told us in later years that Sidney's relations with Jack's family in Pasadena tended to be a bit strained, partly because Sidney was upper-class British from London, whereas Jack's mother and older siblings had grown up on a farm in rural England. Also, Jack, though only the second youngest of his siblings, was the first to marry, which caused some irritation with his mother. Nonetheless, everyone got along, and family get togethers at mother Bunce's house were remembered as cordial, but always quite formal.
Sidney in the mid-1930s contracted polio, which resulted in a 10-year hiatus in her art. Their older daughter Rosamond had been born with a birth defect of the spinal cord known as spinal bifida, which confined her to a wheel chair. Sidney, having now lost the use of her legs from polio, was also confined to a wheel chair. When Jack and their daughter Jackie moved in 1936 to Oakhurst in Madera County, California, where Jack had a job as the resort manager at Beery's Fishcamp Lodge, Sidney and Rosamond stayed behind in Los Angeles. There Sidney and Rosamand spent most of their time being cared for in nursing homes, but they would get to come up to Oakhurst for occasional visits. Sidney began responding favorably to the Sister Kenney Treatment for polo, and she slowly began recovering, and learning to walk and drive a car again, about the time that the U.S. entered WWII. When the war finally came to end in 1945, she had recovered enough to make plans for visit to her old home to England to see her mother, after being gone for more than twenty years.
Sidney left for her visit to England in early 1946, with plans to bring her aging mother Maud back to the United States. However, Maud had lived through the London bombings, which did much damage to the area of West London where Maud lived, and when Sidney arrived at the house, the same place where Sidney had grown up, she found her mother in fragile health and somewhat senile. Because many of the windows in the house had been broken by the bombings, soot from fires related to the bombing had gotten in and covered all the floors and funiture. Also, servants had stolen many things in the house of value, including much of the silverware and her father's silver medals from the Royal Academy. Maud was much too fragile to survive a trip to the States, so Sidney placed her in a rest home in Derbyshire in the north of England. There Sidney's cousin Kenneth Richard Reynolds lived nearby with his family, and he graciously offered to look after Maud in her final days. Then Sidney putting her affairs in England in order, and returned home to her family in California.
Sidney and Jack then moved with Rosamond about 1947 to Santa Cruz, on the California coast. Sidney had dreamed of someday retiring to the beaches Santa Cruz, and she felt that they could finally do so with money she inherited after her mother's passing. They initially ran a motel in Santa Cruz near the intersection of Old Highway 1 with Escalona Drive, in the north part of town. They then left this business, and moved around 1950, or so, to a large two-story house that they bought on Holway Drive, which was closer to the center of town. Here Jack sold business forms, and managed a couple of rental houses that Rosamond bought with some money that she had inherited. However, it was hard to make ends meet with the meager income generated by these ventures. When Jack suffered a mild heart attack after building a ramp into their house for Rosamond to use, it strained their finances even further. Although Sidney loved living near the beaches, she and Jack could not afford it, so so they moved in 1959 to nearby Saratoga in the Santa Clara Valley. Here they lived with their daughter Jacqueline and her family in an old ranch house in the foothills on the inland side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Sidney had resumed painting after the move to Santa Cruz, where she became a well-known member of the Santa Cruz Art League. There she served the society as president, and for several years as one of its directors. When she and Jack later moved inland to Saratoga, she joined the Los Gatos Art Association, which she also served as president, and later a director. She also taught art classes, and helped organize painting exhibitions. Sidney was primarily a portrait artist, and she did her best work in pastel crayon, but she was also proficient with oils. Below is a pastel self portrait she did of herself, probably during her art studies in London. Her husband Jack died on Oct. 8, 1959 at daughter Jackie's house in Saratoga, California, and Sidney died on Dec. 22, 1965 at a hospital in San Jose, California, while living at the same house. She is buried in the Los Gatos Memorial Park Cemetery, close to Jack and daughter Rosamond. Please see the Bunce Genealogy for the children of Sidney and Jack.
APPENDIX - Burial Records
Williams Family Burial Records from the Barnes St. Mary Parish Church
(Burial in the Old Barnes Cemetery)
The Williams Family Burial Plot in Old Barnes Cemetery
Above is the Williams family plot in Old Barnes Cemetery, which today is a nature sanctuary located on the south side of Rocks Lane Multi Sports Centre in London.
The left photo shows the west face of the main tombstone, which has inscriptions on it for Edward Williams, his wife Ann, and their daughter Emily Leslie. The center photo shows west face of the Edward Williams stone again, along with a leaning, cross-shaped tombstone to the right (south) of it, which is the memorial for Edward and Ann's son Henry John Williams (Boddington). The right photo shows the east face of the main stone, which has an inscription for Edward and Ann's son George Augustus Williams.
The documentation for many of the dates and places listed in this history are found in the Ancestry.com online databases (subscription required).
Avictorian.com, Sidney Richard Percy. Not a legitimate reference, as the Avictorian.com online biography is pretty much a rip off that simply copies word for word an earlier version of this site, and splices in some material, almost word for word again, from the Wikipedia articles (which came from this site in the first place). Not much originality.
Hughes, Edan Milton (2002), "Sidney Dolores Percy Bunce" in Artists in California 1786-1940, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California, v. 1, p. 168. Hughes gives Sidney's birth date as 1897, which is the date she put on public documents after her arrival in the States. However, she was actually born in 1892, and like some of the other women in her family, she revised her age downward as she got older.
Reh's Galleries, Sidney Richard Percy. A nice online biography by Janet Whitmore that is based entirely on Reynolds (1975), with the addition of the photograph on Sidney Richard Percy that is shown on Wikipedia (This photo originally came from the family collection, and it also appears in the Dictionary of National Biography). Credit to the author that she references Jan Reynold's book. Thus, even though no new information is added, it remains a nice summary of Jan's work.
Reynolds, Jan (1975), The Williams Family of Painters, Antique Collectors Club, 331 p.
Reynolds, Jan (1997), Landscapes with Cattle, Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide, v. 51, n. 4 (Nov.), p. 42-45.
Reynolds, Jan (2004), Sidney Richard Percy, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - online edition, Oxford University Press, Retrieved 15 April 2013.
Ward, Leslie (1915), Forty Years of Spy, Chatto & Windus, London. This is an autobiography by the great-grandson of James Ward, and it begins with a few words about the author's family history.